A crisis can happen to any organization, no matter how big or small. When a crisis does occur, it is important that the leadership team is prepared to handle it effectively.
Unfortunately, many organizations fail in crisis management due to a number of reasons. In this blog post, we will outline ten of the most common reasons why organizations fall short during a crisis. By knowing what these reasons are, you can work to avoid them and ensure that your team is ready for anything!
1 – Not Having a Crisis Management Plan Will Create Unnecessary Chaos
A big reason why organizations fail in crisis management is because they do not have a CMP – Crisis Management Plan. Without a plan, the team will be scrambling to figure out what needs to be done and who needs to do it. This can lead to a lot of confusion and chaos, which will only make the situation worse. It is essential that you have a plan in place so that everyone knows what their role is and what needs to be done.
If you don’t already have a crisis management plan, now is the time to create one! Having this first gap closed will probably support the remain list of reasons why organizations fail.
In this Bernstein Crisis Management blog experts share their top indicators that you might be heading for a crisis.
2 – Without a Crisis Leader, You Will Falter
Not having a designated crisis leader – Every team needs to have a designated leader who is in charge of making decisions during the crisis. Without this clear hierarchy, it will be difficult for your team to know who is in charge and what needs to be done. This can lead to a lot of confusion and ultimately, decisions not being made in a timely manner. If you don’t have a crisis leader yet, designate someone on your team to fill this role and have a backup. It is essential that your team has a clear hierarchy and designated leader during a crisis.
Resource: The Psychology Behind Effective Crisis Leadership
3 – Not Understanding Who Your Stakeholders Are
Not identifying key stakeholders – Another common mistake is not taking the time to identify all of the key stakeholders involved in the crisis. These are the people who need to be kept up-to-date on what is happening and who will be affected by the decisions that are made. By failing to identify them, you risk leaving them out of the loop and alienating them. This can damage your relationships with these stakeholders and make it more difficult to resolve the crisis. Examples of stakeholders include:
- Law Enforcement
- Critical Vendors
- Can you think of others?
Make sure that you take the time to identify all of the key stakeholders involved in the crisis. This will ensure that everyone is kept up-to-date and that important decisions are not made without their input. Create a stakeholder register to help manage communications with them as there will be more than you think.
4 – Not Creating Situational Awareness as Soon as Possible During the Crisis
Not monitoring and collecting data – One of the most important things you can do during a crisis is to monitor and collect data which helps create situational awareness. This data will be essential in understanding what is happening and making decisions about how to resolve the situation. However, many organizations fail to do this effectively, which can hamper their ability to make informed decisions. Make sure that you are monitoring and collecting data as soon as the crisis begins. This will give you the information you need to make informed decisions about how to resolve the situation.
Resource: Join ICMC for $99 and Become Proficient in “All-Things” Crisis Management
5 – The Inability to Make Timely Decisions
Another common mistake is not making decisions in a timely manner. This can be due to a number of factors, such as not having enough information or not being able to agree on a Course of Action. However, it is essential that you are able to make decisions quickly during a crisis. The longer you wait, the worse the situation may become. It is important to have a decision-making process in place so that you can make decisions quickly and efficiently. This will help ensure that you are able to make the best decisions for your organization. Don’t try to make all the decisions on your own, delegate. During a crisis, it is important to delegate tasks and responsibilities so that you don’t become overwhelmed. As a leader, delegating will also allow you to focus on the most critical tasks at hand. Put processes and procedures in place so that you can make decisions quickly and efficiently.
6 – Not Having Tools and Resources Available
Not having the right tools and resources – Many organizations also fail to have the right tools and resources available during a crisis. This can include things like not having a Master Events Log or other process to document the crisis and other forms of documentation such as a SitRep template ready to go. It can also mean not having the right equipment or supplies to respond effectively. Make sure that you have the tools and resources you need before a crisis hits. This will help ensure that you are able to respond effectively and resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
Example of tools that will keep you organized:
- A Master Events Log
- A SitRep Template
- An Incident Action Plan
- A Functional Emergency Operations Center / War Room (Physical and/or Virtual Security Operations Centers SOC’s)
You may also consider technology that supports communications, incident response and threat intelligence. OnSolve and Castellan are two such companies that provide these solutions.
7 – Not Having Crisis Communication Planning Included in Your Overall Planning
Failing to plan for crisis communications – One of the most common mistakes organizations make is not including crisis communication planning in their overall crisis preparedness. This can be a fatal mistake as it can lead to confusion and misinformation during a crisis. Make sure that you have a comprehensive communication plan in place before a crisis hits. This will help ensure that everyone knows what to do and who to communicate with during the crisis. Your communications plan should include:
- Who will be responsible for communicating during the crisis?
- What channels will be used to communicate (e.g., email, text, social media)?
- What information needs to be communicated?
- When should information be communicated?
- How often should updates be provided?
- Templated press releases for the most common crises you may face.
8 – If You Don’t Conduct Regular Simulation Exercises, You Won’t Know What Gaps Exist
Not conducting regular simulation exercises – Many organizations fail to conduct regular simulation exercises, which can be a fatal mistake. Simulation exercises are essential to identify any gaps in your planning and response. They also allow you to test your plans and procedures so that you can make sure they are effective. Make sure that you are conducting regular simulation exercises so that you can identify any weaknesses in your planning and response. This will help ensure that you are prepared for a real crisis.
Conducting simulation exercises on a regular basis will help you to:
- Identify gaps in your planning
- Test your plans and procedures
- Make sure your team is prepared
- Determine what works and what doesn’t work
- Develop new or improved plans and procedures
Example of a Simulation Exercise:
Tabletop Exercise – This is a type of simulation exercise that involves the use of a scenario to test your plans and procedures. It is typically conducted in a small group setting with the participants sitting around a table or virtually.
Here’s a great guide on how to create simulation exercises.
9 – Not Having Trust Throughout The Crisis Management Team
Failing to create trust – One of the most important aspects of a successful crisis management team is trust. Without trust, the team will not be able to function effectively. Make sure that you are creating an environment of trust within your team and those stakeholders that are critical to the crisis response. This will help ensure that everyone is able to work together effectively to resolve the crisis.
Some ways to build trust within your team:
- Communicate openly and frequently
- Be transparent about decision-making
- Encourage input from all members
- Make sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities
- Delegate authority appropriately
- Follow through on commitments
- Recognize and reward good performance
- Provide constructive feedback
Creating an environment of trust within your team is essential to the success of your crisis management efforts. By following these tips, you can create a team that is cohesive, effective, and trusted.
10 – Not Being Capable to Adjust to an Evolving Crisis
Failing to be flexible – Another common challenge in crisis management is not being able to adjust to evolving events through the lifecycle of the crisis. The nature of crises is that they are constantly changing and can be unpredictable. This means that you need to be flexible in your approach so that you can adapt as the situation changes. Make sure that you have a team that is capable of making quick decisions and adapting to the ever-changing landscape of a crisis. This will help ensure that you are able to effectively manage the crisis and resolve it successfully.
10.5 – There’s Always More…..
There are many other common reasons organizations fail during crises. Rather than point out a half reason, I thought I’d add in a few links to resources that I believe are worth reviewing.
10 Common Crisis Management Gaps – FREE eBook from The International Crisis Management Conference
5 Common Crisis Communications Gaps Organizations Need to Bridge – An On Demand Webinar from OnSolve
By understanding these ten (and a half) reasons why organizations fail in crisis management, you can work to avoid them in your own organization. By being prepared and having a plan in place, you can ensure that your team is ready for anything! crises come unexpected but by being aware of the warning signs, you put your company in a better position to weather any storm. What other steps do you think organizations should take to prepare for a crisis? Let us know in the comments below!